Thursday, May 29, 2008
Like a Dog Chasing its Tail
Sometimes I feel like a dog chasing its tail. I keep going around in circles and never quite catching what I want. And who knows maybe I even look a little bit silly. I am trying everything possible to get my running form and training down. Some days I feel on the way to getting things right and then the next day it all falls apart again. What seems to work one day so I can get a good run in, doesn't work the next time I try it. I am trying to get a system of "best of" routines and am using a lot of variety, but the way my body works is getting so unpredictable. So I keep chasing my tail!
I got an 8 mile run in on each day Friday through Monday. Tuesday my hip was way off so I did not run. Wednesday was track. My hips felt in a pretty decent alignment and although somewhat tight I had my best feeling track workout this year. We did 3 sets of 4*400 with a 200 jog in between each 400 and a 400 jog between each set. My times were OK staying under 90 secs for each and getting faster on the last set (down to 86 secs each). Normally I would not be happy with the times, but I was going for keeping my hips in balance and they stayed about the same all of the workout.
Today I could barely jog when I went out for my run. It wasn't any stiffness from the track. I felt fine, but my hips felt rotated and one leg felt higher than the other and I could barely stride with the left leg. I went a mile, tried to stretch, then turned around and headed home. It feels like someone had twisted the tip of the femur into the hip joint and I get the feeling that the IT Band and the TFL was tight on that side as a result or as a cause. Anyhow I felt like a jogger who could not move his legs correctly. I decided to get the heart pumping so I went outside with the kettlebells and did a lengthy mix of swings, snatches, and cleans and presses.
I had been using my minimalistic Puma H Streets on my runs lately and the Saucony Kilkennys on the track. Today I tried running in the Vitruvians again. I think I will retire them. It was too much shoe, particularly with the Sof Sole orthotics in them. I think my feet were not planting on the ground naturally and it was setting off twists and rotations. I may also get rid of the orthotics soon as my right knee feels a bit tender. I rarely have knee problems and don't want to start one.
In my travels around the web, I found an interesting post by Brett Jones called "Movements not Muscles...". I am wondering if Brett's advice for doing the squat and correcting a "caved in knee" posture can help me as I seek to correct my knee rotating in. He suggests focusing in on the movement and not the muscle. That sounds about right. I just have to learn how to do that. I am hoping that my awkward stride is a result of a faulty movement pattern and not a condition I was born with or a problem due to a tight muscle. This is what the neural reprogramming of Z-Health is supposed to do. I realize I need the advice of a Z-Health practitioner and have been in contact with one for a few weeks now trying to get in for an appraisal. Hopefully that will happen soon.
I have been trying to figure out the difference and importance of mobility, stability, and flexibility. It seems most runners work on flexibility. I am trying to add mobility and learning how it fits with stability.
I saw another post on Brett Jones' blog and I remember seeing a breakdown like this somewhere else. I am working on my feet, ankle, hip, knee and back and trying to figure out how they all fit together as they certainly do not work in isolation from each other. Brett writes about how some joints need mobility and some need stability. When one doesn't work right it affects the joints around it. He writes:
"Follow the trail:
Foot = stability
Ankle = mobility
Knee = stability
Hip = mobility
Lumbar/Core = stability
T-spine = mobility
Scapulae = stability
Shoulder = mobility
Now what happens if the foot which is supposed to show stability becomes mobile? The ankle has to become a stability joint instead of being mobile and the knee has to then become mobile (not what it was designed for) and so on..........
This is why you must follow the chain above and below an "injury" and find out if the problem is a mobility or stability problem because the opposite is waiting for you above and below where you are having an "issue".
And now you can see why a restricted shoulder can actually be a stability problem at the feet - just follow the trail...."
Does that describe what my legs do? I don't know for sure, but it is the avenue I am pursuing. What if one leg follows a different sequence of mobility and stability than the other. Would you get a person like me whose legs cannot work as partners?
Another thing I am trying as a strength and flexibility move is to do a pistol or one-legged squat. Here is a guy doing a pistol without weights.
It is not as easy as it looks. Here is a tutorial by Steve Cotter on how to do one. He says, "What if I told you that by adding just one exercise to your training repertoire, you would be stronger, more flexible and more coordinated and be able to run faster, jump higher and have overall better health? Would it be worth investing the time to learn and practice? If you answered "Yes", then I have just the exercise for you. The one-leg squat, or aptly named "pistol", is one of the most demanding and beneficial exercises in existence , and the only thing you need to get started is your body and the determination to succeed."
You can find Steve's tutorial here.